Michigan Association of School Administrators

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Member Blogs

Blog Authors

David Britton, Godfrey-Lee
Rich Franklin, Athens
Scot Graden, Saline
Tony Habra, Paw Paw
Jerry Jennings, MASA
Michele Lemire, Escanaba
Vickie Markavitch, Oakland
Steve Matthews, Novi
Mike Paskewicz, Northview

MASA members: If you have a blog that you would like us to link please contact pmarrah@gomasa.org

Saline High School – Class of 2015

Written by Scot Graden on May 28, 2015

Saline High School
2015 Senior Class Survey

On Wednesday, May 13, the members of the Class of 2015 completed transcript cards where each student indicated where they would be sending their final transcript. The results for the 450 responses are below:

Michigan Colleges (334) 74%

Out of State Colleges (88) 20%

Michigan Public Colleges (310) 69%

Michigan Private Colleges (24) 5%

All Four Year Colleges (333) 74%

All Two Year Colleges (89) 20%

Military (2) <1%

Working Full Time (11) 2%

Exchange Students returning to home country (7) 1.5%

Young Adult Program (6) 1%

Interesting Numbers:

Michigan Private Schools 

Adrian College 4

Albion College 3

Baker College 1

Cornerstone University 1

Davenport University 1

Hope College 2

Kalamazoo College 3

Kettering University 2

Siena Heights University 4

University of Detroit Mercy 1

Michigan Public Schools    

Central Michigan University 22

Eastern Michigan University 41

Ferris State University 2

Grand Valley State University 23

Lake Superior State 1

Michigan State University 50

Michigan Technological University 4

Northern Michigan University 2

Oakland University 2

Saginaw Valley State University 3

University of Michigan – Ann Arbor 51

University of Michigan – Dearborn 5

Wayne State University 4

Western Michigan University 17

Michigan Career and Technical Schools 

AIS Training Center 1

Aveda Institute 2

Michigan Career and Technical Institute 2

Michigan Institute of Aviation and Technology 1

Motion Picture Institute 1

Michigan Rehabilitation Services 1

Michigan Community Colleges  

Jackson Community College 1

Kalamazoo Valley Community College 2

Schoolcraft College 2

Washtenaw Community College 74

Public Out of State Colleges

Appalachian State University 1

Ball State University 1

Bowling Green State University 2

Central Connecticut State University 1

Colorado State University 1

Florida Atlantic University 1

Georgia Tech 1

Indiana University 2

Miami University 1

Ohio State University 1

Ohio University 2

Oxford University 1

Purdue University 3

Southern Illinois University 1

Texas A & M University 1

University of Alabama 3

University of Central Missouri 1

University of Cincinnati 1

University of Connecticut 1

University of Hawaii 1

University of Kansas 2

University of Kentucky 2

University of Louisville 1

University of Minnesota 1

University of Nebraska 1

University of Passau (Germany) 1

University of Toledo 5

University of Utah 1

University of Windsor 1

University of Wisconsin –EauClaire 1

University of Wyoming 1

Utah State University 1

Private Out of State Colleges

Ashland University 1

Baylor University 1

Belmont University 2

Beloit College 1

Brigham Young University 3

Bryn Mawr College 1

Butler University 1

Case Western Reserve University 2

Cornell University 1

Clark University 1

Columbia College Chicago 1

DePaul University 1

Elmhurst College 1

Fransiscan University of Steubenville 1

Full Sail University 1

Hanover College 1

Heidelberg University 2

Johnson & Wales University 1

Loyola University Chicago 2

Marquette University 1

Massachusetts Institute of Technology 1

McNally Smith College of Music 1

New York University 1

Northwestern University 2

Norwich University 2

Princeton University 1

Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology 1

Saint Mary’s College 1

School of Arts Institute of Chicago 1

Smith College 1

Taylor University 1

University of Dayton 1

University of Northwestern Ohio 1

Valparaiso University 2

Villanova University 1

Wittenberg University 1

Other interesting facts about the Class of 2015:

8        National Merit Semi-Finalists

8        National Merit Finalists

10      National Merit Commended Scholars

7        Students having a cumulative unweighted grade point average of 4.0

65      Students having a cumulative weighted grade point average of 4.0 or higher

111    Students having a cumulative unweighted grade point average of 3.667 – 3.999

92     Students having a cumulative weighted grade point average of 3.667 – 3.999

A Fond Farewell

Written by Rich Franklin on May 26, 2015
On June 30 I will bid Athens Area Schools a fond farewell. After fourteen years in administration here, the last six as superintendent, I will be leaving to assume the superintendency of Barry Intermediate School District.

I will leave behind many friends and many memories.  We have been through a lot together.  You have all been so kind to us as a family.  This is a warm and supportive community.  I hope you will be just as good to the next superintendent.

I am especially proud of what we have accomplished together.  Keeping our beloved little district afloat and continuing to offer an outstanding education to all of our students have been my greatest points of pride.  I know that your dedication to excellence and caring will continue.

I wish you all the very best and look forward to hearing of your continued success!

Remembering a Forgotten Hero from Grand Rapids

Written by David Britton on May 25, 2015
A common slogan around Memorial Day or during a heartbreaking funeral for a recent war casualty is, "We'll Never Forget!" Well, I'm fairly certain that most of the citizens of the Greater Grand Rapids community do not remember Alfred Medendorp.

Young Alfred Medendorp in Grand RapidsBorn in 1907 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, young Alfred had moved to Grand Rapids with his parents several years later where his brother and two sisters were born. Like many in the area at the time, his father had been born in the Netherlands marrying his mother upon arrival in the United States.

Alfred attended South High School and then at just nineteen years of age, married Dorothy Schutt from Dayton, Ohio during the summer of 1927. He set up a chiropractor business while they lived on Division Avenue near Burton Heights and shortly after, they moved to Griggs Street.  Alfred and Dorothy parented three children. He was a graduate of the National College of Chiropractic in Chicago.

Sometime toward the end of the 1930s, Alfred joined the local 126th Infantry National Guard unit at the old Michigan Street Armory near Ionia and Division. When the Guard nationwide was activated in the fall of 1940 for a year of training, then Lieutenant Medendorp left with the 126th for Camp Beauregard, Louisiana where they trained for "modern" warfare on potentially a European battlefield. But December 7, 1941 changed all of that.

U.S. Soldiers on the beach at BunaFederalized after just completing a year away from home, the 126th, which included National Guard companies from Grand Rapids, Holland, Muskegon, Grand Haven, Big Rapids, Ionia, Adrian and Kalamazoo, was first entrained and sent to Fort Devins, Massachusetts for deployment to Northern Ireland as part of the planned invasion of Europe in the war against Nazi Germany. But General MacArthur was screaming for more troops in the Southwest Pacific to stave off the Japanese Imperial Army's juggernaut and eventually regain the Philippines. He specifically asked for the 32nd "Red Arrow" Division, a combined Michigan-Wisconsin National Guard unit that earned fame during World War I and included the 126th Infantry from West Michigan. His public rants and tendency to pressure President Roosevelt worked and the 126th along with the rest of the division turned around and headed cross-country to San Francisco. Now a captain, Medendorp was in charge of a section of the vehicle convoy that made the 2,200-mile trek sans any decent transcontinental road network. The balance of the 126th travelled by train.

Medendorp and the regiment were shipped that summer to Australia where they continued to train and for what they thought would be the defense of that continent. But MacArthur had different plans and instead threw the unprepared Red Arrows -- with the 126th in the lead -- into jungle warfare in an grueling effort to defeat the Japanese on New Guinea. Medendorp was put in command of two companies that would attempt to traverse the Owen-Stanley Mountain range that split the island in two. The purpose was to beat back the Japanese forces and eventually drive them into the sea.

In his unpublished memoirs, written aboard a troop ship returning home following three years in the South Pacific, Medendorp reminisced that, "Words cannot describe the hardships of that march over the mountains. Besides the steep climbs and descents, there was the daily rain, rivers to ford, wet cold nights, and lack of proper and sufficient rations (the 126th's commander had been killed in a plane crash trying to resupply Medendorp's men and the rest of the 2nd battalion during this trek). The men straggled and lay exhausted all along the trail, but most of them managed to get through, although it sometimes took them until late at night.... With the rest of the men, I went through the pass over the dreaded GHOST MOUNTAIN. One man died on that part of the march."

The Red Arrow Division went on to route the stubborn Japanese at Buna at the cost of hundreds of dead or missing soldiers and thousands of wounded. After rebuilding with new replacements during a rest-and-recovery period in Australia, the 126th continued the fight through Leyte, Luzon and eventually the Philippines. The regiment's last duty of World War II was the occupation of Japan. Along with the rest of the 32nd Division, it had seen a record 654 days of combat.

Posing with his sister-in-lawMedendorp returned home and resumed life with his family and continued as an officer in the local National Guard. In 1954, he volunteered to serve as an advisor to the Nationalist Chinese on the tiny but strategically important island of Quemoy who were staving off an invasion by the mainland Communist Chinese.  On September 3, artillery shelling of the island had been underway for nearly five hours when now Lieutenant Colonel Medendorp and Lieutenant Colonel Frank Lynn of Illinois were both hit by the shelling and killed during what was supposed to be a routine visit to the island for training and inspections.

Back in Grand Rapids, his father said he had written the previous June that "Chinese Reds" were then firing on the island. Colonel Medendorp told him the Reds had offered a $10,000 reward for the capture of any American officer and that the situation was such that he and other U.S. Army men did not dare step outside their quarters unarmed.

A simple military headstone marks the grave of MedendorpLieutenant Colonel Alfred Medendorp was laid to rest in Rest Lawn Memorial Cemetery on Eastern Avenue near 32nd Street.  On May 30, 1966, President Lyndon Johnson mentioned Medendorp along with eight others in a special honor roll during traditional Memorial Day ceremonies, although he got the year he was killed wrong. The President remarked that, "These men represent all those Americans who have risked their lives -- and lost them -- in the peace-building efforts that America has made since 1945. They were sent on their missions because this Nation believes that peace is not something that just happens. Peace does not come just because we wish for it. Peace must be fought for. It must be built stone by stone."

Nearly forty years after his death, a memorial was erected on the spot where Medendorp had been killed by the shelling.

A Chinese epitaph states:

US military Lt. Col. Alfred Medendorp, a former member of the U. S. Army Military Assistance Group was killed in combat at the Kinmen Shuitou Wharf during the Artillery Bombardment of September 3rd (September 1954). He died in action under the fire of the Communist China’s artillery. He was 47 years old (1907-1954).

In the fall of 1954, on the eve of the Southeast Asia Convention, Communist China attempt to exert pressure over the nations attending the convention to influence the agenda of the convention. Driven by a desire to pound the Kinmen area in a surprise offensive, China bombarded a navy vessel docked at Shuitou Wharf to strengthen its international clout, thus bringing to reality its political blackmail scheme. Since Communist China dared not launch a direct offensive, it resorted to the violent bombardment of Kinmen.

September 3, 3:00 p.m. Communist Chinese artillery began pounding the islands of Kinmen (Greater Quemoy and Lesser Quemoy), and sending surprise attacks on Shuitou Wharf. Kinmen Defense Commander Gen. Liu Yu-Chang immediately ordered the artillery troops to launch counter strikes to suppress the Chinese attacks. Communist China pounded Kinmen for two straight hours that day, and continued to launch fragment cannon attacks until 8 in the evening. None of the villages along the coasts of the Kinmen Islands had been spared. The military accounted over 5,000 rounds had been fired to Kinmen. The offensive was a prologue of the cross-strait artillery battles between Communist China and Taiwan.

(Artillery Bombardment of September 3rd) In the fifteen-day period that followed September 3rd, Communist Chinese fired 8,767 cannon rounds towards the Kinmen area. The attacks damaged the Shuitou Wharf and several civilian housings, as well as killed over 10 military personnel; Lt. Col. Alfred Medendorp of the United States Military was among those killed in action. The heroic fighting spirit of the front defense line awed the Communist Chinese troops and earned the respect and admiration of the ROC and foreign nationals.

In memory of the unselfish and heroic sacrifice of Lt. Col. Medendorp, the R.O.C. Government issued a “Cloud and Banner Medal” of honor award to him. In 1992, upon the request of the National Guard Association of the United States, the government erected a monument at the spot where Lt. Col. Medendorp was killed. The monument was designed and constructed under the supervision of the contemporary Lieh-Yu Division Commander - Army Major General Kao Hua-Chu and the incumbent Chairman of the Veterans Affairs Commission. Following the completion of the stone, the Chief of the General Staff, General First Class Liu Ho-Chien inscribed the memorial epitaph. The stone (Lt. Col. Alfred Medendorp monument) was erected on August 7, 1992.

The monument inscription:
In CommemorationALFRED MEDENDORP(1907-54)
Lieutenant Colonel, Army of the United States U. S. Army Military Assistance Groupfirst U. S. soldier killed in action at this location during hostile artillery bombardment3 September 1954
Colonel Medendorp, a National Guard officer from theState of Michigan, volunteered to help defend freedomAfter distinguished combat service in WWII.
Awarded the Republic of China Order of the Cloud and Banner November, 1954

Dedicated. 1992 Republic of Chinain coordination with National Guard Association of the United States

Lessons in #EdLeadership: Purpose, Passion, ACTION

Written by Vickie Markavitch on May 18, 2015

By Dr. Vickie L. Markavitch, Superintendent of Oakland Schools


Isn’t life amazing as an educator? Truly think about it. Our purpose is built into our job through our students, and we can go to work every day feeling good about what it is we are there to accomplish.

I read a book in college that has stayed with me my entire career. It’s a little tiny paperback by Viktor E. Frankl called Man’s Search for Meaning. Frankl wrote it in nine days after his liberation from a Nazi concentration camp, and in it he analyzed why some people survived the camps and why some people didn’t. His observation was that those people who believed they had a task yet to do were the ones who prevailed. So his book very clearly said to me that man’s meaning in life is to have something important “yet to do”, and that the something has to be bigger than yourself.

Isn’t that what we do in education? Our purpose is in teaching our students and taking this generation to the next level. If we could put leadership in one word, for me it would be purposeful. I think leadership evolves from purpose and passion.

This quote made a huge impression on me:

True leadership is never about “I want to be principal, I want to be superintendent, I want to be president” – if it’s about the role, then your purpose is shallow. When it’s about the goal of the work, when it’s about what you are passionate to accomplish – that’s when leadership happens.

WHY, not What.

Great leaders always focus on ‘why’, not on ‘what’. In education, we frequently talk about the what or how: what’s our reading program, what’s our intervention, how do we do this or that. Think back to when you last talked about the why of public education; the leadership process always starts with a compelling ‘why’ because it centers squarely on purpose.

If you try to lead without purpose, you’re just going to be bossy. Communicating ‘why’ engages everyone’s hearts and souls in a purposeful mission.

WHY do educators want to take back the agenda for public education? Is it because we want to feather our own nest? No, we step up to lead because kids are suffering. We want to take the education agenda back because there are people profiting off of public education and it was never intended for profit. We want to take it back because we don’t have students where they need to be at and we can’t be distracted from what they need to be learning. Getting people to understand the ‘why’ of our education agenda is the first step.

Personally, I see our work contributing to the happiness, satisfaction and citizenry of the next generation…who will go on to create the next generation…who will create the next generation. Our work as teachers is crucially important; we own a critical ‘why’, and we have to talk openly about it so that we share the purpose and passion of what we do.

Whether I was the teacher in the classroom, the principal in the building or the superintendent of a district, I had to keep the focus on education because there was constantly people and things and agendas and calendars and schedules and politics that tried to distract us from our purpose of student learning.


Politics is a huge distract-er, but purpose can prevail over politics every time if you keep ‘why’ at the front and publicly address what needs to be answered. We should never let the political agenda be the driver of our work if that political agenda does not meet its purpose for our students.

There are two sets of politics we need to be aware of: as a smart leader you have to attend to the internal politics of your organization because if you don’t, your organization will not be able to deliver on its purpose. When you have a healthy organizational culture, you will have healthy politics.

A leader must of course also be aware of the external politics in Lansing and Washington DC; sometimes we get so bogged down in our teaching that we don’t pay attention to the forces that still want to take over public education.

We can use the fact that we are teachers, and we know how to educate. Imagine if we used our voices to educate our Lansing legislators. THEY are scrambling to try to figure out what the education answers are, and WE have the voice, the background and the pedagogy to teach them about real solutions that support student learning.

Teachers ARE politically astute.

Think about what you do every day at school: you read your audience every time you’re in front of students, parents or staff; you know your content, and you adapt and adjust how you are delivering that content. You know how to stay on point and problem-solve when you’re in the classroom, parent conference or school improvement meeting. And, as teachers, you are driven by truth and data, which adds to your public credibility. Without realizing it, you have been seriously ‘political’ for most of your teaching career…

If you take the political astuteness that you have in your Teacher DNA and simply put it out in a different arena, you will be amazed at how many people listen to you!

You know that teachers and public education are being bashed across the USA, and that hurts. We are not used to using our voices outside of the classroom, but if all we do is complain privately about ineffective or punitive legislation, we’re going to get mentally and physically unwell.

We have to stop complaining and move to constructive action. We have to remember our purpose (you look into their faces every school day!) and why we chose to teach, and we must let our passion fuel our actions as leaders for the future of public education and our students.

 This post is excerpted from Dr. Markavitch’s keynote speech on education leadership at Oakland University’s School of Education and Human Services Graduate Symposium on May 16, 2015.

Also VIEW: Working Together for Public Education 2015 by Dr. Markavitch


Blog Editor: Jean MacLeod, Communications/Oakland Schools


 Oakland Schools • 2111 Pontiac Lake Road • Waterford, MI 48328-2736 • 248.209.2000

OUSEHS Graduate Symposium (Dr. Markavitch, left)

Beating dragons!

Written by Steve Matthews on May 15, 2015
I have never seen a real dragon.

But I have seen Smaug from The Hobbit and Toothless from How to Train Your Dragon.

I have most assuredly felt the power of dragons.

Dragons bring chaos and threaten ruin.

There are weeks when it feels like all I do is defend myself and those I love from dragons.

It is at those times that it is wise to remember the words of Neil Gaiman.